Question: I am considering burning speckled alder as a wood fuel. Is that a hardwood or softwood? How would you rate it as a fuel? Thank you in advance for your response. Answer: It's a member of the Birch family, which would make it a hardwood. However, this tree is usually quite small, so it is not commonly used as a fuel. If you have access to it easily, it should burn fine...at least (due to its small size) you will not have to do much splitting.